Priority rules – general rules of riding along a wave accepted by the whole world. If there are two or more surfers on the same wave, the priority belongs to the one who is closer to the back of the wave, to its peak. The rest should give him way on the wave, ride or jump away from it, or just don’t go there if you see that someone is closer to the peak. The surfer in the picture who is on the left has the priority, and the one on the right should give him way. It is one of the main surfing rules, all surfers around the world know it, it is the same everywhere, and it is important to keep to it like to traffic rules when you are driving a car. Otherwise it can lead to unpleasant results, quarrels between surfers, damage to equipment (surfboards, first of all), traumas and injuries.
Out, wipeout – a big wave that is closed above you, and can wash you out if you don’t dive under it. In this case, you have to do either duck dive or Eskimo roll depending on the type of your surfboard.
Outside – direction away from the shore, into the ocean. Russian surfers often say “above”, “rise up”. “He is above us,” means that the person we are talking about is more outside, farther into the ocean than we.
Domestic wave – sometimes they call the last wave in the session which they take to ride to the shore. A lot of surfers consider that you can’t “walk” out of the ocean, that is row with your hands from the very line up to the shore; instead you should catch at least the most miserable and tiny wave, and ride on it, even laying on your belly. We think that thus we show respect to the element. So, sometimes you can here on the line up, “Well, along the domestic one?” and the answer is “Let’s take the domestic”.
Beach break – a spot where the waves break because of natural relief of the bottom. The bottom is sandy in these spots, and its relief changes all the time; new sand hills appear, and it change the character of the wave and its direction. Beach breaks are not so interesting for experienced surfers, as the waves are not sustainable there, and they can appear in different places. These spots are good for training of newcomers, because sandy bottom is not dangerous, unlike reefs or stones.
Wax – it is used to polish the boards not to slip from them while riding. In the picture you can see the most popular wax brand. It is not a joke, it is its real name! And yes, it can be of different colours.
Paddle out – row with your hands laying on the board towards line up.
Goofy – a surfer who rides with his right foot forward. There is a whole legend that explains this term. Long time ago all surfers we learned to ride only with their left foot forward. Then Disney studio made an animation about Goofy dog who was surfing. It turned out that he was riding with his right foot forward, maybe it was the artists’ mistake. Soon the trainers noticed that there are some people who can’t ride with their left foot forward, but they make it better with their right foot. Since then people are taught to ride as they prefer. Those who put their right foot forward are called Goofy. Here is a picture of a Goofy surfer. The surfers are not used to say “left foot” or “right foot”, we usually say “front foot” or “rear foot”. By the way, these words are familiar not only to surfers, but to all riders: skaters, snowboarders, kiters.
Get cut — (on a wave, on a wave wall) – to turn on the wave directing it along the wall of the wave.
Inside direction towards the shore, out of water. Russian surfers often say “below”, “get down” which means “further to inside, closer to the shore”.
Channel – a place in the ocean where backwards current is formed. It is necessary to learn about backwards currents before entering the ocean for the first time. For a surfer it is first of all a sector of water along which it is easier to swim into line up, as there are no waves there, or they are very small, and backwards current takes you straight into the ocean. Sometimes it happens that the channel “does not work”; it means that the waves are so big that they appear even in the channel, and it closes.
It sways – it means that the waves are coming. We can say so both about good waves, acceptable for riding, and about too big waves that are appropriate only for very skilled surfers. About the latter they often say “it oversways”.
Line up – a best place in the ocean to wait for and catch waves.
Lycra – a T-shirt of special material that does not absorb water. A lot of surfers ride in lycras. It prevents sunburns, roughness on the stomach when you rub it against the board, and if the weather is cool and the wind is blowing, you are not so cold in it. You can distinguish a surfer by his/her lycra. Generally, it’s a great thing.
Leash – a cord 1,5-2 meter long, attached to the board with one end, and gripping your ankle with a Velcro in order to prevent losing your board in the ocean. In the pictures above you can see this cord hanging behind the board, and gripping belt on the rear foot, in this case both mine and the girl’s rear foot is left. The grip is on the rear foot to avoid stepping on the cord.
Longboard – a long and floaty board; it is easier to catch waves on it, but it is less maneuverable than the other type of boards.
It kneads – this is what happens when out is coming, and you haven’t done neither duck dive nor Eskimo roll. You are washed away with foam, and if the wave is strong, you can be rolled under the water or hit against the bottom. If you are very unlucky, you can be hit with a board (your own or someone else’s), break the board, get hurt with fins. Generally, not a very nice thing. The worst thing is you are kneaded by a whole set of waves, not just one or two, but five-seven waves in a row. In this case you ought to row towards channel, there are no waves there. English speaking surfers sometimes call this “wash machine”, meaning that you are rolled like linen in a washing machine.
Wave direction – direction in which the wave is closed. The waves can be right and left. When a surfer catches a wave, he/she determines to what direction it will go, and, standing on the board, makes a turn to the necessary side, on the wave.
Dropping in – violating of priority rules. In fact, it means to take away a wave from another person, to make him skip from the board in order to avoid a bump. It is indecent, impolite and dangerous. If it happens that you have dropped someone, you need to apologize. Surfers are usually friendly people, they will understand you and will not make a scandal.
Point break – a type of surf spot. In such spots the wave breaks due to some curves of the bottom, like big rocks, abruptness of the bottom, or some artificial obstacle, like a shipwreck.
Gentle wave – usually not a big wave with a slightly sloping front wall that is hard to catch, as it does not push the board, does not grip it.
Row up (to the wave) – row with your hands on the board trying to reach pace which is necessary to catch the wave.
Rough wave – a wave whose front wall is too steep, and instead of gripping and pushing the board, it just turns in upside down.
Regular – a surfer who rides with his left foot forward.
Reef break – a type of surf spot. In such spots the wave breaks on a coral reef that lays in the bottom. As a rule, the most interesting spots are the reef ones, as the wave is the most predictable and clear there. But you ought to remember that reefs can be dangerous, and if you fall down, you can be seriously injured.
Set – a row of waves that follow each other in several seconds. If you are too low when a set comes, all the waves of this set will reach you when they are closed, outs, and you will be kneaded. In this case you should dive under each wave, in between rowing towards the channel as fast as you can. As soon as you reach it, the waves will not harm you.
Surf spot – beach and a piece of ocean in front of it where waves come. Surfers often say “spot works” or “spot does not work” meaning if there are conditions for riding or no, if the waves come or not.
Softboard – a board made of special material, soft and floaty. They are used to teach newcomers how to surf.
Fin – a detail attached to the board underneath, and makes it more stable on the water. Fins can be of different materials, soft, hard, the quantity can vary from one to six. The most popular construction among surfers is a board with 3 fins, like in the picture below. You should take care as the fins have very sharp front edge, like a razor, that can hurt you or someone else, whom you hit with your board. Take care when you are surfing!
Shore break – wave that breaks at the very shore, in some meters from the place where the water is just ankle deep. They can be quite dangerous even when they are not so big, because they hit the bottom very hard. A meter or meter and a half shore break can hit you against the bottom really hard, can cause you traumas or even break your board. So, if there is a shore break on the spot, you should take care coming into and getting out of the water, be attentive and very quick, catching a moment between two waves.
Shortboard – a type of boards which experienced surfers use. They are small and very maneuverable, they are the best to make different tricks, jumps and turns.
Eskimo roll – A way of passing big waves for those who can not make a duck dive, as they have big and floaty boards which can’t sink. A surfer turns the board upside down and hides under it, when the wave passes over him and over the board. If you make the Eskimo roll in a right way, the wave won’t wash you away, just will pass over you, you will turn the board backwards and swim further. If you make it too late, or do not do at all, the wave will wash you away.
Duckdive – a wave of passing big foamy waves that surfers on shortboards use. They sink the front edge of the board under the wave, and then dive together with it under the wave, letting it pass over them. It is necessary to make duck dive in order to reach line up. You will meet waves on the way, and if you do not dive under them, they will wash you away. In the picture you can see a typical duck dive.